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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi Faces New Charges

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SINGAPORE—Police in Myanmar have filed two new charges against Aung San Suu Kyi, the ousted civilian leader who has been detained in her home since the country’s military seized power from her government a month ago.

The charges entangle the deeply popular politician in a web of legal cases as security forces move more aggressively to quell protests against the coup.

The move follows a bloody crackdown against demonstrators in cities across Myanmar on Sunday. At least 18 people were killed, according to the United Nations, marking a sharp escalation in the use of force by police since protests began more than three weeks ago. Protesters are demanding that Ms. Suu Kyi be released and her democratically elected government be restored to power.

Ms. Suu Kyi, who appeared before a court via video link on Monday, was already facing charges of illegally importing walkie talkies and violating a disaster management law—obscure allegations that have been used to keep her detained since the coup. The lawyer appointed by her party to represent her said the new charges accuse her of making statements that could cause alarm and induce members of the public to commit offenses against the state—a crime under the country’s penal code. The legal provision was widely used under past military governments to silence dissidents.

Police also added another charge in connection with the walkie talkies, though under a different law, the lawyer said, bringing the number of cases Ms. Suu Kyi faces to four. The legal tangle could keep her under detention for years and potentially end the 75-year-old’s political career. The lawyer, Mr. Khin Maung Zaw, hasn’t been permitted to meet her.

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